Earlier this year, Fury returned four years after their second studio album Failed Entertainment released on Run For Cover Records with a surprise new single on their original label Triple B. Since their debut album Paramount, both Fury and Triple B have expanded upon their repertoires to grow what hardcore means to them as a band and a label respectively. While time has seemingly slowed Fury down, the expansive, riff-laden “Vie” is a testament that there’s much to more to come.
“Vie” is one of the band’s longest songs clocking in at 3 minutes 48 seconds, taking their hardcore foundations and building on them beyond what Failed Entertainment brought us. Laying on a mix of crossover thrash, 70s rock and roll riffs while adding in a rollicking solo by former Power Trip member Chris Ulsh (also playing guitars in bands such as Hatred Surge, Mammoth Grinder and Innumerable Forms), “Vie” is a heavier yet surprisingly melodic offering. Vocalist Jeremy Stith has always had a penchant for laying melody in his classic hardcore bark, calling to mind early youth crew in his delivery, with poetic lyrics that lend themselves to interesting cadences. “Vie” is no different, with lyrics which read as a memorial and a goodbye to Power Trip’s legendary vocalist Riley Gale. With lines like ‘these days replaying your Cicada night. We vie, heed calls. To fly is to fall, crumble, crawl’, intricately bringing to mind Gale’s final tweet, enrapturing performances and personal struggles with a few simple words before signing off with ‘goodbye matador’.
Listening to “Vie” next to their first 7” Kingdom Come shows a stark difference. A straight forward wrecking ball of Orange County hardcore; in your face, fast, aggressive, melodic, and thrilling. Even here the signs of something special were rearing their head. There’s something that you can’t put your finger on to express the style of Fury, with their now classic debut LP Paramount only continued their meteoric rise in the scene from its release in 2016. Paramount only sought to sharpen what we heard on Kingdom Come, a tight and powerful hardcore attack that made them just about the most hyped band in the scene at the time outside of the now major stars in Turnstile. 10 songs in 23 minutes of simple and incredibly well put together hardcore was simply untouchable at the time, with Stith’s aforementioned vocals and lyrics a departure from most other bands. On the album though, the band weren’t going in with pre-conceived notions of sound or how to be received, Stith expanded in an interview with Away From Life: ‘We didn’t really have any expectations or ideas about how it would be received by everyone. I think we just wanted to write something we would enjoy to listen to ourselves and I can’t speak for anyone by myself but I’m more than satisfied.’
It culminates in what is simply one of the best hardcore songs and album closers ever released. “The Feeling” is one of the most memorable sing-along songs of the modern era, and was a sign of the exciting things to come on “Vie”. It has melodic riffs but what sets it apart is the grandeur of the whole song. Again, it’s that can’t put your finger on specialness, the riff is brilliant, the rhythms keep it in place and the lyrics are more of a poem than a hardcore song. It reads as a testament to the genre and life in general, a love letter to what unites everyone at any Fury show, a time where anyone can sing ‘a wish to dream, a life paramount, a love supreme’.
Until Candy’s Good to Feel, Paramount was Triple B’s best-selling LP, having multiple presses at a time when a one time press really meant it. Sam Yarmuth, who founded the label, has shown a keen eye for some of the best bands in the scene which has meant Triple B has established a reputation the precedes any new band or release. For example, since Fury’s debut, Triple B have released two albums from New York’s new lords Mindforce and before the groundwork was laid by band’s including the legendary Rival Mob. With a track record like this, it’s easy to see why they’re hardcore’s most respected label in the modern scene. Yarmuth runs the label out of his home city of Boston, a fitting hot bed for hardcore itself, but has scoured the globe and has now taken tours of label bands across it including one with his own band Warfare which has featured members of Trapped Under Ice and God’s Hate itself. With Fury as a centre, you can work outwards to create a clear picture of the scene through their label, bands they share members with, and bands they’ve toured alongside with ease.
Anything Fury follow “Vie” up with doesn’t need a label’s hype given their own reputation, but their return after a foray onto the alt-rock leaning Run For Cover is a testament to the growth of Triple B. Their move to Run For Cover was somewhat a surprise to me at the time, but they have moved to sign a number of hardcore and adjacent bands to flesh out their label having since gone on to sign One Step Closer (also after a debut EP on Triple B), Anxious, Fiddlehead, and Portrayal of Guilt. Run For Cover’s hardcore track record is much less clear, but their involvement with Fury gave them the biggest platform of their career and looked to be a launchpad for a band going one way.
The resulting Failed Entertainment was somewhat a departure and one that came in line with the switch of label, yet the offer to release on Run For Cover came after the album was finished. More in line with alt-rock, but still in keeping with hardcore and still very much sounding like Fury. More expansive, more ambitious but still aggressive, melodic, and poetic. In fact, the penultimate track is more of an interlude, a poem read through conversations by friends. The poem was by Andrew Savage of Parquet Courts and had a profound impact on Stith, eventually it became the missing piece to finish Failed Entertainment. To The Fader, Stith stated, ‘I wanted as many of my friends involved with it as I could, so I told them to record themselves on their phone and just send it to me and I’d figure out a way to make it work.’
In the end I wonder if Failed Entertainment is actually too hardcore for what is a non-hardcore label. It expands on sounds, bringing in more melody across the board but without losing that edge. Fury remained a hardcore band on an alternative and indie label before a few years away and a return to a pure hardcore label. Their approach is refreshing, they remained true to their sound and selves regardless of where they were, and produced another phenomenal piece of art in doing so. About hardcore as a vehicle for art in the same Fader interview, Stith expanded, ‘The vehicle I have in my life, with my friends, is this band. It’s like an art project. I grew up in hardcore, but I never thought I’d be in a hardcore band. I’d gone to school for art, and I was trying to be an abstract painter. After that ship sailed, this was my outlet. I love the challenge of this genre — I love the constraints, it’s such a juicy medium to express myself in this way.’
One of the key expressions of the hardcore medium remains the live show. Bands touring and playing to like-minded moshers in the scene is still the pinnacle of feeling. Fury, even after quieter years, remain a fierce force live. They were a highlight of this year’s Outbreak Fest, playing what could have been a difficult mid-afternoon set after the likes of Candy, Narrow Head, and Scowl. Unsurprisingly, “The Feeling” is still an untouchable set closer and not even people doing the conga could take away my joy. About touring, Stith feels this joy too, expounding to Thrasher, ‘Being able to tour is something you can’t artificially recreate. That feeling is pretty addicting to connect with people like that and see different people in different places… I do like being at home, somewhere comfortable, but you can’t beat that feeling of being 20 minutes into your gig and getting on that next level.’
Fury have been one of the scene’s shining lights for a number of years now, from that first 7” right through to their newest single “Vie” there has been a special aura about them. Across two LPs and countless shows, they’ve given a way of expression most hardcore bands can only access a shred of. Through poetic lyrics, memorable riffs and hard rhythms they remain one of hardcore’s best bands. This year isn’t their first rodeo and they have plenty more bulls to ride if “Vie” is a sign of things to come.
Jeremy Stith – Vocals
Madison Woodward – Guitar
Alfredo Gutierrez – Guitar
Danny Samayoa – Bass
Alex Samayoa – Drums